Ripon Christian’s girls basketball team opened its season with an impressive 50-41 win over East Union on Monday, but unfortunately for the Knights the result has no bearing on their record.
The nonleague showdown between reigning co-champions of their respective leagues was part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Foundation Games program. The section rakes in half of the admission sales of all games played Monday and uses the money for scholarships.
Still, both teams can take some positives from the contest and build from there.
Freshman Olivia Vezaldenos proved she belonged in her varsity debut, scoring 13 of her game-high15 points in the first half for East Union. She led the team’s stifling full-court press that helped the Lancers roll to a 20-6 advantage behind a 12-2 run.
Ripon Christian took over from there, countering with a 13-2 flurry capped by Kaylie Colyn’s coast-to-coast bucket. Vezaldenos’ 3-pointer from the top of the arc with four seconds left in the half kept EU ahead 26-21 heading into the break.
But the momentum belonged to RC, which took the lead for good late in the third quarter and took a 35-30 cushion into the fourth.
Teagan Manus paced the Knights’ balanced scoring effort with 11 points. Ellen Blankers, whose put-back layup sealed it with 10 seconds remaining, contributed 10, and Colyn had nine. Victoria Vezaldenos scored nine for EU, and Marina Sayler contributed eight.
Nine Foundation Games involved area squads. East Union was at RC, while Ripon hosted Manteca for boy-girl doubleheaders. Lathrop’s boys and girls traveled to Los Banos to face Pacheco. Both Weston Ranch teams took on Lincoln of Stockton on the road. Sierra’s girls faced visiting Chavez.
Lathrop 51, Pacheco 27
In Los Banos, Lathrop used a 13-2 run in the second quarter to distance itself from second-year varsity Pacheco.
Janet Visaya spearheaded the Spartans with 12 points. Junior posts Loreal Taylor and Akilah Lesley added 10 points apiece to go with eight and six rebounds, respectively.
“The girls played well,” Lathrop coach Ed Fang said. “We were able to get out and run, and all of the girls got into the action. We were in Pacheco’s shoes a few years ago being a new program, but we have to do our best no matter who we are playing.”
East Union 55, Ripon Christian 49
Trailing 37-30 after three quarters, East Union found away to snap out of its funk on offense in its come-from-behind win.
“We didn’t panic, we just turned up the pressure on defense,” East Union coach Brett Lewis said. “We didn’t shoot well at all tonight, probably in the low 20s (field-goal percentage).”
Justin Nieto, slowed by early foul trouble, poured in nine of his 11 points in the pivotal fourth quarter. Jake Danhoff led all players with 17 points. Aaron Ramos contributed nine.
Lewis also highlighted the play of Robbie Gleockler (six points) and Jordan Kron (seven), who played tough defensively despite a combined ice-cold shooting effort.
Clayton Blankers registered 12 points for RC, and Dan Vos added 10.